Barca braced for Arsenal battle

Barcelona forward Pedro is expecting Arsenal to provide a stern test for the La Liga title holders in Wednesday’s Champions League encounter.

The two sides met in the quarter-finals last season, with Barca winning 6-3 on aggregate after a 4-1 win at the Nou Camp in the second leg.

But the Spain international is expecting the Gunners to be a much tougher prospect at their Emirates Stadium home when they meet in the last 16 midweek.

“They have a great team, and we know that it will be a very difficult game. They have great players, especially in attack, fast and physical players. It will be a hard tie as both teams are in good form,” Pedro said.

“They are in good form and have very good players like Cesc (Fabregas) and (Robin) van Persie. Arsenal are always hard opponents, and this game will be no different.”

“Getting a good result away is always important for us. We know that it will be hard, but as always we will go out to win the game.”

“We are hoping for a good result, and a win would be very positive for the second leg at home.”

Pedro also played down renewed speculation about a bid for national team-mate Fabregas, pleading his ignorance about any potential move for the Gunners captain.

“I don’t know. I hope so. He is a great player and was here before,” Pedro said.

“We know that he can adapt to here. He has also expressed an interest in coming here, but there is no reason to talk about this.”

“We are going to be playing against him and his team, but I hope that one day he can play here. He is a great player and we would all like him here.”